Autos: The Pact That Might Have Been

The nation's labor unions long ago perfected the divide-and-conquer tactic of selective strikes in industry-wide negotiations. Only lately have companies tempered union pressure on struck rivals through "mutual-aid pacts." The airlines have used them since 1958, and they have popped up in such industries as railroads and rubber. Last week it became known that the Big Three of U.S. automaking, going into their 1967 negotiations, had considered a mutual-aid model of their own.

News of the secret—and never-used —pact was broken, improbably enough, by the University of Michigan's campus newspaper, the Michigan Daily. Its editor, Senior Roger Rapoport, who had worked...

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